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Opera Launching New "Ice" Browser for iOS, Android

While Opera really didn't offer anything new to see for the North American market at CES 2013, the company has revealed to Pocket-lint that it's preparing a new web browser for the iOS and Android platforms called Opera Ice. It's in development for both smartphone and tablet form factors, and will focus on presenting rich applications rather than stuff the screen full of buttons and tabs.

"This is a full touch and tablet-focused browser," the project manager told the site. "Most are taking a PC browser and squishing [it] into a tablet, or they are taking a mobile browser and blowing it up to fill the space."

Opera wants to hide as much of the actual browser as possible, allowing the user to navigate the web using gestures instead of the typical forward and backward buttons. Tabs will reportedly be replaced by icons on a homepage, and new pages will be accessed by either typing in the URL or using the browser's search function. To bookmark, users simply tap a part of the screen and drag the icon to the home screen.

"We need to go into a new phase, we need to lift our games on certain areas to ensure we continue to grow," said Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera. "We need to focus on getting strong products out on iOS and Android. These are the two leading platforms we will focus on… They are the ones phones are being sold for."

That said, the new browser is slated to arrive on both mobile platforms first. It may also arrive on the Windows Phone platform in the future, but that project won't become a priority until the Windows Phone device sales begin to pick up.

As for Opera Mini, the company doesn't have any plans to dump the popular scaled down browser. "Mini is super important," Boilsen added. "It needs to be a platform where we create users and then migrate those users to over to our smartphone products."

Opera also plans to launch a desktop version in March (presumably Opera Ice), so stay tuned for an official announcement soon.


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